Well, it's been quite the busy week! Mandatory overtime at work and all... So, sorry for missing Wednesday's (semi) weekly feature. Eh, you get what you pay for.
In addition to work, I'm currently doing a lot of early planning with what will hopefully be a new and highly acclaimed feature here at The Want List. It's still in the early planning and construction stages (and I do mean 'Construction'), but details will be coming. On either success or failure. Could go either way at this point.
Anyway, this was a pretty good week for comics. And it was pretty hard to choose which one to open first - epically with a new Spirit, Astonishing, and Starlord. And that Walt Simonson Superman #666 is real tempting...
But, in the end, I went with the second issue of a 3-parter where the 1st issue was good enough to really hook me in. It doesn't hurt that it's illustrated by an artistic genius and scripted by the god of all comics.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: J.H. Williams III
This one has all the makings of a three issue trade masterpiece. And, I admit that after several issues of him on Batman I'm still waiting for Grant to yank me into Awesometown like I know he can. This may be it. Judging by the first two, at least.
The Setup: It's a Most Dangerous Game in a haunted house set against DC history throw-away stories. And that's a perfect premise for Mr. Morrison. And, come to think of it, perfect for Mr. Williams III, who sells it brilliantly.
Issue one set up the yearly (?) gathering of odd-ball heroes by their benefactor as premiered by some very old DC comic story where they all were jealous of the Batman's fame and in stuck in his shadow. Typically, for years past The Batman doesn't even deign the C-Listers with his presence. This time, for his own reasons, Batman shows up. Reasons unknown to the reader. As of yet.
The you-know-it's-coming trap is sprung, a hero dies, and Batman (with Robin) is out to solve it. Unless the villain and the house get to them all first.
There are several things about this issue/series that will stick out brilliantly. First - The art. I can't stress enough how good Williams works with Morrison. Better than Quitely. There. I've said it. The panel placement, the dreaminess, the whole creepy feel he brings to the book is fantastic and perfectly in sync with the story. I honestly believe that if writers can choose their artists (as I'm sure Morrison can - for the most part), that Morrison is the best judge of picking an art style to further his script that there ever was. Think about it. And ignore those blasted Marvel X-Men editorial decisions.
Then, there's the detective work. I'm a huge fan of Batman as a detective first and foremost, and I believe that's why the animated version of him works so well. And why I loved Batman Begins. He's best with the preparation first, the head kicking later. In this issue, Batman - and Robin both, which was a joy to see - go about the business of dismantling this game from the background. And it's clever, the way they do it. It's real detective work and it works. It's not Murder World stuff - it's good deductive skills.
The extra fun in this issue was all of the C-List characters. You end up liking them. Even the gruff, ugly ones. Morrison has that knack for likable forgotten relativity. Bonus attention to the Knight and Squire, which Morrison has a well-deserved boner for, even if the public at large sees nothing of them outside of his scripts.
The extra-extra fun is the artwork. Or did I mention that? God, Williams is good!
Get these three issues in trade, if you're not reading it already. Recommended.
Most Wanted Panel: